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Group approves $357,000 budget

Matt Bramanti | Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Members of the newly constituted Council of Representatives met Monday evening in LaFortune to approve the Student Union’s annual budget and to ratify the nomination of several newly appointed officials.Student union treasurer Claire Fadel presented the budget, which was compiled at a meeting of the Financial Management Board earlier this month. This year’s discretionary allocations totaled nearly $357,000, down about seven percent from last year. The current budget reflects lower revenue from sales of “The Shirt.” Fadel said the kelly green “Here Come the Irish” shirts were not as successful as the “Return to Glory” shirts from the 2002 football season. In addition, anticipated revenue from student activities fees dipped slightly.A copy of the budget allocations obtained by The Observer reveals that funding requests far exceeded the amount of money available. Student union organizations requested about $668,000, exceeding the final budget by over 87 percent.One of the most notable changes in the budget was the drop in funding for the Student Union Board, student government’s major programming body. The allocation for SUB fell to about $179,000 – nearly 16 percent shy of last year’s $212,000 level. Student leaders slashed SUB’s concert budget by more than half, an area that accounts for most of SUB’s funding cuts. The cuts come a year after SUB sponsored a show by comedian David Spade that failed to draw enough students to cover its costs.In the budget documents, assistant treasurers Jennifer Keber and Michael Marshall suggested SUB should prove its worth with a smaller budget before being allocated more funding.”By sticking with a smaller name and maybe having only one concert, SUB could pull off a successful concert year and possibly get more money next year,” they wrote.The Hall Presidents Council received a 10 percent boost in funding to $55,000, reflecting a recent rise in expenses for hall dances, Fadel said.”Halls always need more money,” she said. “Dances keep costing more since we can’t have them in our dorms.”Total funding for student clubs and organizations declined slightly to about $276,000 from last year’s $286,000 mark.The budget passed with unanimous consent.Council members also approved the nomination of new student government officials.Members unanimously approved Keber and Marshall’s nominations as assistant student union treasurers. Sophomore Adam DuVall was approved as policy branch controller and freshman Brendan Barrett was approved as parliamentarian. In addition, student leaders unanimously approved sophomore Meg Smith for her second year as student body treasurer. Student body president Adam Istvan praised Smith’s work, saying it will bring continuity to the student union as it transitions to a new constitution.”She’s been amazing for the past year,” he said. “And she will continue to be amazing for us next year.Leaders also approved the nomination of Mike King as the student union’s first website administrator. Istvan vowed to improve the site, which was last updated in October.”We’re going to overhaul the atrocity that is the student government website and make it into … something students will actually use,” Istvan said.